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Reinforcing the Social Inclusion of Disadvantaged People
Diversity in the Workplace and Empowering Disadvantaged Groups
- Strategic Lessons from EQUAL
- Policy Forum: Diversifying the Workplace
- Exchange Event: EQUALising the Workplace – Diversity in Action
- Outcomes from EQUAL European Thematic Group on Employability
examples of the work of Development Partnerships
- Convincing and Involving Employers - Awareness raising
- Enhancing Corporate Social Responsibility
- Promoting the "Business Case" for diversity action
- Catering to Employers' Needs
- Training and Learning for Managers and Employees
- Awards and E-Quality Labels
- The impact of Trade Unions
- Improving the Capacities of Integration Services and Agencies
- Fostering the Empowerment of Vulnerable Groups
- New Active Roles: Mediation, Mentoring and Tutoring
- Enhancing Diversity in the Media
- Local/Regional Strategies for Building on Diversity
- Individualising Pathways to Integration and Employment
To remain competitive, especially in a global economy, enterprises must be able to capitalise on the experiences, the creativity and the full potential of a diverse workforce. They must explicitly recognise and actively promote different individual talents. By the same token, Government authorities at all levels, public services and agencies must seek to ensure cohesion in a society whose members have very different needs, through carefully tailoring their services to the special aspirations and requirements of different groups. This must include specific action to strengthen the confidence, motivation and self-reliance of people facing discrimination or, in other words, effective strategies for empowerment.
diversity means fostering positive attitudes towards "otherness"
and involves a strong focus on awareness raising and attitudinal and
behavioural change. It also requires positive action to provide
opportunities adapted to the needs of individuals and/or groups, as
well as incentives and support enabling individuals/groups to make
active use of these opportunities. Harnessing diversity thus involves
a combination of activities that promote non-discriminatory practices
and affirmative action and capitalise on the diverse background,
knowledge and linguistic and other skills of individual groups or
people, as a powerful resource for development.
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|Empowerment Underpinning Active Inclusion|
This document summarises outcomes from EQUAL
Development Partnerships (DPs), transnational and national thematic
networks that have been concerned
with empowerment, which was one of the key
principles or building blocks
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The Policy Forum on Strategies for Empowerment and Inclusion, (Belfast, 29-30 November 2007) was the second stage in an EQUAL Mainstreaming Programme on the themes of empowerment and diversity. The concept of this European Mainstreaming Platform on Diversity came from Northern Ireland's EQUAL Managing Authority working in close cooperation with its counterparts in Latvia, Malta, Belgium-Flanders and Portugal.
Following on from the EQUALising the Workplace Exchange Event for DPs (June 2007), which identified a range of good practices in empowering vulnerable groups, the Policy Forum brought together some 150 participants, including key shareholders in EQUAL, policy makers and employers, to engage their interest in taking forward innovative and effective policies that will enable disadvantaged groups to overcome inequalities in employment.
It should be noted that none of the other European-level Mainstreaming Platforms in 2007 had a similarly strong focus on the topic of empowerment. Thus, the organisers of the Exchange Event and the subsequent Policy Forum believe that it is vital that these two European gatherings should leave a well-developed and documented legacy of EQUAL successes in empowering its beneficiaries.
|Recommendations - Executive Summary|
|Policy Forum Report|
|Diversity in EQUAL - Now, you can read all about it! (Feb 2008)|
EQUAL Development Partnerships that have been working on the issues of empowerment and diversity in 20 different Member States came together in Belfast, on 13 June 2007. They were joined by representatives of Managing Authorities and National Support Structures and together the 120 delegates developed the messages to be presented to the Policy Forum that was held in the same city, in November 2007.
These messages were based on a multilateral exchange on approaches in EQUAL that have been successful in raising the level of empowerment of many of their beneficiaries and encouraging employers to add a diversity dimension to their recruitment and HRD policies, and that helped integration agencies or other bridge-builders of different kinds to improve their services for the hardest to reach groupings.
|Exchange Event Report|
|Capitalising on Diversity and Empowerment|
ETG1 generated a number of documents on outcomes from EQUAL Round 1 that also informed further developments in Round 2. The documents that can be accessed through the links listed below are based on contributions from three of the ETG1 working groups which focused on the Involvement of Employers, the Role of the Trade Unions and on Ethnic Minorities and Migrants.
|Building on diversity Thematic background paper|
|New Alliances to Boost Jobs for the Most Disadvantaged - Tackling disadvantage through Corporate Social Responsibility and diversity management|
New Alliances to Boost Jobs for the Most Disadvantaged – linked background documentation
|Reflecting the Colours of the World - Media, diversity and discrimination – Policy brief|
The way in which initial approaches are made is crucial in gaining employers' cooperation. EQUAL has found that personal meetings/interviews are always the best, especially in the case of SMEs, but the preparation of these contacts requires a considerable investment of time, and a thorough knowledge of the profile and the company's image. Action aimed at awareness raising and the dissemination of positive experiences was effective in promoting diversity-based practices of recruitment and work place integration.
New alliances in favour of disadvantaged groups can be enhanced by placing a special emphasis, in the dialogue with and between the Social Partners, on approaches to implementing and developing diversity strategies and Corporate Social Responsibility in enterprises.
Progressive companies are beginning to recognise the benefits of workforce diversity EQUAL has shown that establishing the "business case" for diversity action can be a strong stimulus for employers' cooperation in integrating disadvantaged groups.
|DK - Developing the Business Case|
|SE - Business Performance through better Diversity Strategies|
|UKgb - B-Equal - The Bradford Equality Employment project|
|UKgb - Making Ethnic Diversity a Business Advantage|
The cooperation of companies can be greatly enhanced if they are supported in their diversity activities. EQUAL partners from several countries, often in conjunction with Public Employment Services, have developed new consultancy services. Such services include novel approaches to workplace audits, profiling of jobs and requisite skills/qualifications, matching services, recruitment procedures, tutoring, job coaching and case management. The more of these approaches that were combined into a single, comprehensive service for employers, the more jobs or placements were created.
EQUAL DPs have offered variety of training modules for enterprises that are designed to assist them in the recruitment, induction and continuing support of people from groups that are disadvantaged on the labour market. In general, these are targeted at those who are responsible for the management of the enterprise's Human Resource functions, but also at employees on the factory or office floor.
EQUAL tested ways to establish local or regional award systems that give public recognition to employers with outstanding performance related to equality and/or diversity issues and who could also act as role models. These awards had a positive impact on the formation of Equality Employer Networks that can contribute to the sustainability and mainstreaming of diversity approaches.
|IT - AHEAD-Non-Discrimination within SMEs|
|UKgb - Encouraging and understanding diversity - 2005|
|UKgb - Encouraging and understanding diversity - short version - 2005|
EQUAL partnerships led by trade unions have demonstrated significant progress in developing quality standards and networking for comprehensive employment services, or in training, and mobilising shop stewards and shop floor representatives for active involvement in the carrying out and development of diversity strategies.
While, in developing new offers of training related to diversity issues, many DPs have targeted the business world, others also highlight the importance of such training for the staff of public services and agencies. Those most excluded from the labour market often fall outside the normal range of recruitment activities of companies. Through special outreach programmes, local services can more easily contact these groups and direct them towards possible employment opportunities.
|BEnl - Training for coaches, trainers, instructors (E Quality Career Time)|
|IT - A regional model for re-integrating offenders - 2006|
See also: Practical Examples in section on Modernisation and Strengthening of Labour Market Institutions
Many EQUAL DPs placed a strong emphasis on developing the capacities of informal groups to organise themselves in a more structured and efficient way and to work towards changing the process of economic and social integration in their neighbourhood in favour of members of the most disadvantaged groups. EQUAL has also demonstrated a number of ways in which job coaches encourage empowerment and has shown that job coaches are effective in empowering people in their search for employment.
Many DPs strongly argued the case for the enhanced involvement of new types of operators in the management of the integration process. They emphasise the pivotal role that mediators, "path-planners", mentors, tutors and "multipliers" can play in providing individual guidance and follow-up for people who have various types of disadvantage. These new operators also work as brokers who, on a one to one basis, link individual needs to opportunities, match people to jobs and provide continuing assistance for a period after the placement, both to the individuals and to their employers.
EQUAL partners have brought together and encouraged dialogue between media companies, training institutes, NGOs, anti-racist organisations, public broadcasters, community media and many more organisations connected to the media. The composition of the partnerships under EQUAL has made it possible to develop tools and methods that have helped the media to provide a more welcoming working environment for professionals from disadvantaged backgrounds.
EQUAL has shown that the greatest impact of diversity strategies can be achieved where different measures are integrated into a comprehensive local strategy that engages all the actors involved in the territory's economic and social life and seeks to develop an overall climate that is conducive to change (learning region). The architecture of EQUAL, i.e. its method of tackling integration issues through mobilising large, mostly territorial partnerships, has fostered such strategic approaches.
See Practical Examples in section on "Pathways to Re-entry into Employment for Disadvantaged People"